A Tick in Her Ear


Ticks.  They gross me out.  “Another eight!  Aargh. I just did twenty earlier!”, my husband is shouting from the hallway as I write.  He is talking about ticks on our dog Milly.  She has a tick collar.  It clearly isn’t working.

My introduction to ticks in any big way was last summer in Portugal.  My daughter spotted one on the dog.  A horrid, grey, bug thingy.  We were told to treat her swiftly before she got tick disease and died, so it was with a certain panic we stared at the array of tick medications in the supermarket and came away with a little tube of liquid. I pulled the insects off her, gagging. Legs sticking into her flesh.  Urgh.  They started to drop off naturally after the medication kicked in and we would walk around the house accidently treading on them.  Bloated after being on the dog.  Then a big, red splodge on the floor.  They thrive on the same stuff as vampires and leeches.  Yugh. Yugh. Yugh.


My husband was in London that summer, working in a pristine, air conditioned, editing studio.  I couldn’t help but be struck by the difference in our lives as I pulled off the stubborn creatures in the heat of a Portuguese August and tossed them away.  Although to be fair, he had already acquired his own tick when editing in a barn in Somerset a couple of years before.  So we were fairly even, I guess.  I hadn’t known much about ticks in England because as far as I was concerned they stuck to sheep and we didn’t have any.  I read that sheep keel over and die pretty easily so that had put me off getting one to potter prettily around the orchard in a Capability Brown kind of way.  We bought ducks instead.


So for this season’s style Milly now sports a lovely plastic brown tick collar impregnated with the scent of lavender. I hope it works.

Millie full shot Feb2013

This is an amateur’s eye view of ticks.  If you really, really want to, there are plenty of pictures to be found of ticks on the internet, I preferred to show some nice dog pictures.

  • A few words of Portuguese from the text above.

cão = dog
carrapato = tick
ovelha = sheep
celeiro = barn
grama = grass
verão = summer
agosto = August
calor = heat
jardim = garden


3 thoughts on “A Tick in Her Ear

  1. Tick is also known as ‘carraça’ and you may have heard of ‘febre da carraça’ (tick fever). You have to be extra careful with those guys and this year will probably be infested with ticks (just trying to be realistic here, not wanting to make you panic) because of the weather we’ve had (lots of rain + some warm days = bugs).
    Btw, ‘grama’ is the Brazilian Portuguese version of the word ‘relva’, which is what you’ll usually hear/read in Portugal 😉


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